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Does Agile Without Results Even Matter?

Reading: Does Agile Without Results Even Matter?
Does Agile Without Results Even Matter?

Some companies strive for a culture where people come first. They value trust, empowerment, safety, fun, and collaboration. And they’re right to value that stuff. It’s super important.

Others strive for a culture where results take priority. They value things like metrics, accountability, commitment, ownership, and performance. And they’re right to value that stuff. It’s also super important.

But, if you want to get the most out of Agile, you need to find a way to balance both views. And the cool thing about Agile is that Agile gives us the ability to have both.

How Does Agile Take Care of People?

At first glance, Agile is all about the people. Agile encourages teams to come together and invent creative solutions. It has clear guidance that teams should meet regularly to reflect on the work and find ways to improve. And it suggests that teams get together at the end of a sprint to celebrate a job well done.

In part, Agile is all about fun, collaboration, safety, and giving a voice to the people.

How Does Agile Account for Results?

And, if you take a closer look, Agile is also all about getting and demonstrating results. Agile emphasizes the importance of small, cross-functional teams who operate off a well-prioritized backlog. Teams that can get to a working tested increment of product at the end of every sprint.

It encourages teams to write robust user stories with a clear definition of ready and definition of done. It uses burndown charts and estimation to predict throughput.

So, even though Agile is all about the people; it’s also all about results.

The Reality of Agile

But here’s the thing about Agile. You must focus on both sides of it. Because if you’re not focused on both, you aren’t focused on either. Too often, companies want to focus on the people-side of Agile and they wind up neglecting the results. And if you aren’t getting results, does it even matter that you’re focusing on culture? Because without results, pretty soon, you won’t have a business with a culture to focus on.

But that’s not a conversation a lot of people are ready to have, so they continue to beat the culture drum because the people-side of Agile seems easier to influence and the results-side of agile is harder to achieve consistently.

But ensuring that you can achieve results first, is worth it. Because even though it isn’t immediately obvious, there’s a relationship between results and the things your people desire. When you achieve the results, you become the type of organization that leadership can trust. And when leadership can trust you, they can delegate into the system and will stop all the command-and-control micromanaging, and you end up with the people-things that Agile promises like fun, safety, trust, collaboration, and team empowerment.

Next Empathy, Trust, and Alignment: Stakeholder Management Tactics for Agile Leaders

Comment (1)

  1. Vikas Sharma

    An insightful and thought-provoking article on achieving harmony between cultural values and tangible results


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